Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Cultural Cross-Pollination...
...or, you never know who you'll run into at a Jam Session...

It's a weekly ritual where those who play music come crawling out of the woodwork, and outside of a few fairly structured songs, no one knows what they'll run into at a jam session. Old hippies who wanna play Grateful Dead songs. Blues musicians who wanna play John Lee Hooker or Elmore James stuff. Out-and-out young rock and rollers who wanna get up and "shred" (play frantically speedy rock and roll & heavy-metal licks...Ted Nugent, for example, could be called a "shredder"), and in any given evening, everyone from college-age kids to bar "regulars", to gray longhaired back-to-nature types to just "everyday people" that you meet, show up and play and sing and share in the process of musical creation.

It never ceases to amaze me, the generally high quality (higher than mine!) musicianship from such widely diverse groups of people. Jam sessions are a perfect learning environment, and I am learning. I think my own playing level has improved during the half-year I've been down here on the Oregon Coast, and it's a ball, it's fun, it's one of the most pleasurable things I can do...trading guitar licks with other musicians. Nothing like it. Now all I need is a bigger amplifier, because my poor old little "Crate" amplifier gets drowned out by the stacks of big amps that a lot of the musicians bring in. So I guess I gotta save my nickels and dimes.

One person who came to the Jams tonight was not a musician. He was dressed in dirty old white (well, almost-white) overalls, an old longsleeve work shirt, and he looked curiously out-of-place. I guess we all observe each other, and we come to our conclusions about the people we see, however wrong-headed those conclusions may be. And in this case, I was WAAAAY wrong. I thought he was some mentally-ill eccentric-type person who I would probably be uncomfortable around, and I turned my attention back to the musical things that were going on. Ah, but everyone has a tale to tell...and sometimes those tales are far different than what one would expect. Doesn't the Bible say something along the lines of, "judge not and ye shalt not be judged"? Easier said than done, that.

I learned later that the guy is a working fisherman, and he makes a living fishing for cod and pollock up and down the coast, in a little commercial fishing boat , heaving up and down constantly upon the waves for days at a time. The boat heaves; he doesn't. He told me he doesn't get seasick, and hasn't been for ages. And, how does he pass the time until the catches are loaded? He is an artist, who paints with watercolor, on a little boat out in the ocean. Gosh; painting with watercolor is difficult enough without your artist's studio rocking around all over the place on top of the merciless ocean waves. Tonight, he came into the jam session and painted everyone on stage; that's a first, someone painting my likeness. And, he had a lot of his work with him, and he was selling paintings to people in the bar, and he sold me an 11" x 8 1/2" painting for five bucks, and it's hanging on the wall of my TV room right now. It's a picture of a fishing boat, and it's not unlike the painting I've included below...



I am trying, down here on the South Coast, to just live life; sometimes, yes, I still get anxious or depressed, but at other times, I find myself doing amazingly well. I came here to "slow down" and "work" on myself; a de-programming of sorts. Do I have all the answers? Am I where I want to be, in terms of personal progress? No, but then again, I suppose I could label myself as a "human being under construction; subject to change at any time". And, it's times such as I described above, in which I am really glad I came down here. One thing I've always thought about life in general is that we, as the human race, are not 'accepting' enough. We always judge, and our biases tarnish just about everything we do. So tonight, in addition to being a fun musical experience, was a learning experience as well.
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Credit where credit is due: The painting I included above is by Nancy Poucher, and it is her rendition of a "Cape Cod fishing boat". I might have to try painting sometime. My Mom used to paint, and she got good enough to exhibit her paintings. But, in order to paint, I must learn one thing: PATIENCE. Hopefully that'll come with "re-programming" after my "de-programming".

2 Comments:

Blogger Dogwalkmusings said...

Great story. You're a muscian - you can paint. Art is in your soul.

3:21 PM  
Blogger Idaho Escapee said...

Mari, I do draw a bit here and there, mostly cartoonish-type bizarre stuff, but I don't do nearly as much of that as I used to...I have thot about exploring photography...maybe that's the thing I should do next...

4:20 AM  

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